When she was just a few years younger than the eighth-grade students she addressed in Sage Park's auditorium, Marion Blumenthal-Lazan sat with her mother upon their concentration camp bunk, secretly preparing soup with a potato her mother found and smuggled in — a treat given their one-piece-of-bread-a-week diet.
It was at that moment a Nazi guard entered their quarters for a surprise inspection.
Startled, the soup spilled, scalding Blumenthal-Lazan's leg.
"We learned discipline out of necessity," she told the students at Sage Park. "I didn't cry out. If I had, I believe we would not have survived that day."
While the 84-year-old Holocaust survivor estimates she has told her story to more than 1 million adults and children over the years "it still is not easy," she said. "However, I realize the importance of sharing that period of our history with you simply because, in a few short years, we will not be here any longer to give a first-hand account. Yours is the very last generation to hear this history from us."
Blumenthal-Lazan continued, telling the 13 and 14-year-olds that it is their reponsibilty to learn from the atrocities she relayed through her story and tell everyone they know about them. She also urged the students to go out and treat each person they meet with love and respect, regardless of their religious beliefs, skin color or gender.
May 10 marked Blumenthal-Lazan's third-consecutive visit to Windsor's middle school — an integral part of the students' history education, which is also enhanced by an annual trip to the nation's capitol and United States Memorial Holocaust Museum.
The eighth-graders have also read and discussed "Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl." Anne Frank and Blumenthal-Lazan were in the same concentration camp.
Blumenthal-Lazan attributed her daily survival to two things: a game she calls "Four Perfect Pebbles" in which she would walk around the yard telling herself if she could find four perfect pebbles, all four members of her family (her mother, father and brother were in the same camp) would survive; and the strength of her mother, who is now a healthy 104-years-old.